By Diane Zimmerman
A New Charity is Founded
For my Christmas gift 2005, I asked my husband Tom to give a donation to the City Rescue Mission of Lansing, Michigan. Christmas morning, my heart was burdened with the thought. "There are people this morning without even a blanket". And the tears began to roll down my face. Not even a blanket; no warmth, no comfort, no home, no Christmas dinner or gifts. Not even a blanket!
At noon we left to join our family get-together, and I spent the 1 1/2 hours in the car pondering what God wanted us to do and what we should call ourselves. Having a name for our pursuit would make it more real. And I wanted the name to be personal and full of God's love and grace. God's Spirit put on my heart the very idea that brings me joy; being a grandma! "Grandma's Comfort" - the comfort of God through us to others.
The initial idea was to make and give my own handcrafted afghans or blankets as a form of comfort to those in need of care in the Lansing area, but as I shared the idea with my three daughters and our sons-in-law, their initial enthusiasm quickly grew the idea into a vision of gift ideas, birthday bags, layettes, all types of handcrafted items.
As I later shared the vision with others, I found that many friends and co-workers had the same desire to give their own created items to others but were not sure how or where.
And so, because of the touch of God's Spirit and from my chair knitting and crocheting grew a small organization; Grandma's Comfort, a 501(c)3 nonprofit charitable organization.
Reading scripture and thinking about those in shelters or on the streets, I have been very struck with two closely tied pairs of words. The first pair is 'suffering' and 'comfort..' Writing to the Corinthians in his first letter, chapter 1, verses 3-5, Paul states this principle:
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us
in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.
For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows."
Many people are suffering and need God's comfort overflowing through us.
The second pair is 'receiving and giving.' In his first letter, chapter 4, verse 10, the apostle Peter encourages the persecuted, scattered Christians to use their gifts, particularly in light of the nearness of the end times and even though they were suffering:
"Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms."
We receive God's grace, or gift, to us; He gives us gifts to serve others.
Or, as another translation says,
"God has given each of you some special abilities; be sure to use them to help each other, passing on to others
God's many kinds of blessings."
Based on these two biblical concepts and matched pairs of words, Grandma's Comfort extends a hand on each side; to bring together those who are suffering and in need of God's comfort with those who have received God's comfort and grace and wish to serve others with their own giftedness.